Welcome back to our annual series of season wrap-up posts, which we cleverly titled as “The Season (2018-19),” because we’re creative like that. Your donation dollars at work, folks.
Teams are being selected on a random basis. Our tenth installment for this season, and first from 1A-District 1, is Arnold.
Each The Season post will have the same content as they’ve had for the past five seasons.
You can see everything I have on the Marlins in 2018-19 here –> ARNOLD
Win/loss record: 28-13 in dual meets. Please review the attached document for a summary of the Marlins’ performance in IBT events.
Season in a nutshell: Until I walked through every week of the season updating Arnold’s records, I had not thought it possible that the Marlins could have starters with 50+, 60+, even 70+ matches. But so they did. After a slow start at Border Wars VI (15th out of 20), Arnold then won its first title of the season with a 1A-District 1 team dual tournament victory. Then things really started picking up. The Marlins won Beast of the Beach’s best of the rest competition and was one of two area teams to compete in the Deep South Bayou Duals, a very solid Louisiana dual tournament. Arnold ran the table to win the North Bay Haven Bash (10-0), and followed that up with a runnerup effort at district rival Mosley’s Panhandle Championships on the second weekend of January. The Marlins reached the 1A-Region 1 dual team tournament semis, then came back to take fourth at district rival Wewahitchka’s Gator Brawl. After a brief break at the end of the month, Arnold kicked off February with a fourth-place finish at Wakulla’s one-day IBT and took fifth at Chiles’ Timberwolf Duals the following weekend. On Valentine’s Day, the Marlins were 5-0 and won the Bay County Conference title to wrap up the regular season. Arnold took second at the 1A-District 1 traditional tournament, 11th at regions and finished 26th — more or less in the top third — at the state tournament. The Marlins return 14 wrestlers, potentially, with post-season starting or regular lineup presence to next year’s team, including two of three of this year’s state qualifiers.
Key returners (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) for 2019-20 (with year in school as they’ll be next year): Will Ashby (senior, 44-19 at 113, district runnerup, did not compete at regions); Nick Hejke (sophomore, 59-13 at 120, district champ, region runnerup, state 5th); Jacob Smith (junior, 18-14 at 126, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Spencer Korol (senior, 19-25 at 132, 1 match from regions); Layton Tomasiewicz (senior, 19-31 at 132, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Trevyn Slik (junior, 14-25 at 145, 1 match from regions); Nick Kendrick (junior, 43-35 at 152, district 4th, region 4th, 1-2 at states); Max Gaylord (junior, 22-39 at 160, 1 match from regions); Stephen Watson (sophomore, 6-15 at 170, 1 match from regions); Delmar Jones (sophomore, 3-16 at 170, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Skyler Jarrell (junior, 9-13 at 170/182, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Jake Bingham (senior, 10-10 at 182, district 3rd, 0-2 at regions); Josh Young (senior, 8-9 at 220, did not compete in post-season traditionals); Joseph Carey (junior, 17-15 at 285, 1 match from regions).
Graduation losses (15+ matches this past season or post-season experience) from this year’s team: Tanner Brockman (58-15 at 106, district champ, region 4th, 0-2 at state meet); Griffin Hebert (61-14 at 138, district runnerup, region 3rd, 1-2 at states); Casey Peppers (43-14 at 220, district runnerup, 1-2 at regions).
2018-19 MVP: It’s just hard to overstate the importance of senior Griffin Hebert to this team. Hebert was one of just a couple of connections to the elite Arnold teams that came through just a few earlier seasons ago, and this year he wound up leading the Marlins in victories (I had him with 61, which was a few less than reported to FHSAA). He competed in a district at a weight class where winning district or region titles was a longshot at best, but Hebert won 21 straight matches between the end of December (Deep South Bayou Duals) and the middle of January. Hebert was the Panhandle Championships weight-class champion at 138 and was 10-0 at North Bay Haven Bash, with another nine-match win streak that started at Timberwolf Duals, continued with a Bay County Conference title and extended up to the district final.
2019-20 captain: In terms of post-season decoration, Marlins freshman Nick Hejke — in his first year with Arnold after starting varsity and reaching the state tournament for Bozeman as an eighth-grader — picked up 59 wins, including 19 in a row between the Deep South Bayou Duals and the Panhandle Championships, which Hejke won. After place finishes at Gator Brawl and Wakulla, Hejke ripped off 11 more victories in a row, with a Bay County Conference and a district traditional title, finishing second at regions and going on to place fifth at states, the Marlins’ only wrestler to get to the final day of the season. That experience is going to be very helpful in 2019-20.
Heaton’s Hero: This is a slam dunk. Senior Tanner Brockman, who rolled up 58 wins (your mileage may vary; my count is slightly off from the one reported to FHSA) this past year, ordinarily wouldn’t be considered here. But Brockman has wrestled with a heart that does not have a right ventricle; he has bypasses to treat that. He’s had three heart surgeries to fix various consequences from this, and he also sustained a torn ACL as a junior. This year, he went to state in his most sustained season of competition since freshman year. His courage goes beyond all limits and surpasses our meager expectations. Tanner Brockman is the Heaton’s Hero for Arnold.
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